The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) is a 2.6m diameter optical imaging telescope at the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile supporting the VLT (Very Large Telescope) through its wide-field capabilities and ability to perform stand-alone survey projects. It will be equipped with an enormous 268-megapixel camera called OmegaCAM. Like the VLT, the survey telescope will cover a wide-range of wavelengths from ultraviolet through optical to the near-infrared. But whereas the largest telescopes, such as the VLT, can only study a small part of the sky at any one time, the VST is designed to photograph large areas quickly and deeply.
The VST was conceived to support the VLT with wide-angle imaging by detecting and pre-characterising sources, which the VLT Unit Telescopes can then observe further. The VST will be dedicated to survey programmes. It has the potential to make important discoveries in a wide of areas of astrophysics and cosmology.
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) program is a cooperation between the Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte (OAC), Italy, and the European Southern Observatory. UK scientists lead two out of the three initial VST survey programmes.